DIY No Sew Fleece Nap Mat Cover

Let me say this simply…the last couple days I have been struck with a case of “mommy meltdowns.” One minute I am fine and the next minute I look around at all the home projects piling up and I start to weep. Any other moms suffer from this?!? My car is a victim of post road trip nastiness. The garage/art studio has turned into a junk yard. Our landscaping is so overgrown it looks like a Bengal tiger should be pouncing out at any moment. The list goes on and on. My kids can help with some of the chores but honestly sometimes it just makes more work for me when they “help.” I keep reminding myself that school starts very VERY soon. Within the next couple of weeks all THREE of my kids will be going off to school. Yes, that is correct. I said all THREE kids. Whoop, whoop! I have graduated to a new stage of motherhood. Sawyer’s preschool is only for 10 hours a week, BUT that is 10 hours a week to check things off my to-do list…KID FREE.
I am channeling my focus on back-to-school prep and choosing to ignore my home “to-do” list until my new-found freedom arrives. So with that being said, I decided to make Sawyer a DIY no-sew nap mat cover for preschool this morning. This was a project that I could get done with the “help” of my kids…and let’s just say I had A LOT of help. We ventured out to JoAnns to pick out all of our supplies.  There was no shortage of no-sew fleece! The options were endless.  Sweet Sawyer was so excited with her choice of Frozen themed fleece.  Her joy made me smile.

Can you cut? Can you tie a knot? If so, you qualify to make a no-sew nap mat cover!


-1 nap mat  (I bought mine at Target)

-1.5 yards (length) of no-sew fleece to be used for the front and back of the nap mat. (JoAnns had a great selection).

-1 yard (length)of no sew fleece to be used for the blanket.



1. Cut the 1.5 yards of fleece into two equal sections.  Stack on top of one another.

2. Lay nap mat on top of the stacked fleece. Trim fleece so there is 4 to 5 inches of fleece bordering the mat.

3. Place nap mat in between to two layers of fleece. Cut 1″ fringe, 4 to 5 inches deep, all around the stacked fleece except for the top part. Cut corners out.

4. Tie the top piece of fringe and bottom piece of fringe together along the length of the sides and bottom.

*Ignore the top of my mat.  I didn’t trim it before I took the picture. However, this picture shows what the sides and bottom should look like once tied. I guess I am my own rule breaker.

5. At the top of the mat, cut the top piece of fleece straight across. Do NOT cut the bottom piece.

6. Tuck the bottom piece over the nap mat and under the top piece of fleece. This step is to make it easy to slid the mat out for when the cover needs to be washed.img_5106-3


7. Poke the fringe out of the side knots and tie to a piece of fringes.  Do this on both sides of the mat. The cover is finished!img_5107

8. Flip the nap mat over so the bottom piece of fleece is now on the top.

9. Lay the remaining 1 yard of fleece on top of the covered nap mat. Leave 4 to 5 inches of fleece hanging off on one side and the bottom. On the other side of the nap map, trim the remaining fleece so that 6-12 inches are left.

10. Cut 1″ fringe along the side and bottom 4 to 5 inches deep. Cut the corner out.  You only need to fringe the bottom part until you reach the end of the covered nap mat.  Once you reach that point, cut the fleece as if you are cutting out a corner. See picture.

11. Tie the “blanket” fleece fringe along the one side and bottom to the nap mat cover’s fringe to attach the blanket. See picture in step 4.

12. Covered nap mat COMPLETE. ✔️ Good job!

I think it’s safe to say that Sawyer LOVES her new nap mat.  Hopefully she will be a good napper at school.

As for now, my case of “mommy meltdowns” has subsided. My to-do list CAN wait until the kids are back to school. Until then, I will wear pretend blinders while in my post-roadtrip car, junk yard garage, or jungle-like front yard and hope that no tiger pounces at me.tiger-in-the-grass-jane-schnetlage





Don’t Lose Your Marbles!

*This post is for mommas who are looking for ways to reward their kids for good and helpful behavior.
Larson got a marble in his jar!!

What’s a “Marble in a Jar,” you ask?
It’s the reward/discipline system I use for our kids and they LOVE it. It’s amazing how powerful a bag of @dollartree marbles can be for motivating these kids!
How it works-

1. Each kid gets two jars. I recommend two different shaped jars so they know the difference between the two. I have found it helpful to write my kids’ name on their jars so they don’t get mixed up.

2. Fill one of each kids’ jar with 50 marbles. This jar will serve as the ‘bank.’

3. For every good, positive, helpful deed they do, they can earn one marble to put in their ‘earned’ jar.

4. Marbles can be taken away and put back into the ‘bank’ for disrespectful, rude, or negative behavior. (The kids do NOT like when they lose a marble!)

5. Once all 50 marbles are moved from the ‘bank’ to the ‘earned’ jar, I give my kids a $5 bill. So, each of the 50 marbles equals $.10 each.

6. When the kids have earned their $5, simply transfer the marbles back to the ‘bank’ from the ‘earned’ jar and start over.

What you will need:
– 2 jars for each kid. I recommend transparent jars so it is easy for the kids to see their progress. Glass jars look nice and can pass as home decor.

– 50 marbles for each kid

– Dry erase or permanent marker to write their names on the jars.

– $5 bills

How to give yourself a Mommy Make-Under

Have you ever wondered how some women, especially moms, have superhero powers that can transform them from one of class and sophistication into washed-up old hags in minutes?  Like Superman ripping off his reporters’ suit and nerdy glasses to reveal the superhero he truly is underneath, I also have such mystical powers to alter other people’s perceptions of who I can appear to be 2% of the time (classy and sophisticated) into who I truly am 98% of the time (a repulsive-looking soccer mom).  There’s no need to search Google and Pinterest for days on the best how-to practices for achieving this eye-popping, unicorn-esque look where people can’t stop staring at you. I, Sarah Mabry, am here to personally teach YOU how to accomplish this one of kind look through my patented 13½ step process designed to give yourself what I call the “Mommy Make-Under.”

The biggest misconception of the Mommy Make-Under is that it’s only for ladies with kids.  Boy, do I have great news for you!  Anyone, even YOU, college sorority girl, registered nurse, administrative assistant, and grandma, can sport this all too trendy look that’s sweeping the suburbs.  Now don’t get discouraged if after following these simple 13½ steps you don’t look like you got hit by a train like I do, as results will vary.  The main thing is that you take it one step at a time, as my Mommy Make-Under program is delicately designed to build from one step to the next.  I’m only offering these closely guarded secrets for free here exclusively on for a limited time until my self-published book is released this summer.  One final recommendation before we get stated: I highly recommend that you document yourself at the beginning of Step One.  I also recommend you contact your dentist because there’s a good chance no one will be able to identify you when you get to Step 13½ without dental records.  Grab a cocktail and some bonbons because here we go!

Step 1:

Actually take a shower, wash your face, shave, floss, brush your teeth, clean your ears, moisturize your skin, pluck your eyebrows, apply make up, dry and style your hair, and dress in a cute outfit, being sure to accessorize with jewelry.

Step 2: 

Snap that selfie, you animal!  Remember, there’s a good chance you won’t look (or smell) like this again for years.


Step 3:

Not going to lie, this step takes commitment.  Don’t do ANY of the things outlined in Step 1 for a minimum of four days.

Step 4:

Allow those nice greasy layers of “Crisco Glow,” as I call them to accumulate on your hair, which is mandatory for the messy mommy-tail (or ponytail) outlined in Step 9.

Step 5: 

Through years of well-documented scientific testing** I found that leg hair length at day four of the Mommy Make-Under process has the perfect amount of prickliness to them.  It’s not too short, not too long, but just right.  My testing also revealed that eyebrow bushiness after four days of not being plucked take on that perfect, organic contour we’re all after.  In case you missed it: shaving and plucking are No-No’s.

** The only animals harmed during testing were groundhogs. CLICK HERE to see the video of the effects testing had on them.


Step 6:

This is where the effects of the Make-Under really start to gel.  Take off that precious jewelry you got as a gift from your significant other or passed down from your grandma; you won’t be needing it where you’re going.  Where are you going, you ask?  Well, you’re going to be busy playing football, house, basketball, dolls, wrestling, dress up, sword fighting, watching the same movie 20 times in a row, cooking, cleaning, scrapping kids’ boogers off of faces (your kids’ faces and your own face), cutting gum out of hair, and the endless job of cleaning poop off of every imaginable body part and household surface you can think of…and a handful you never knew existed.  Additionally, jewelry serves as a choking hazard; it will get tugged on during these events causing chains to snap, beads to spill, and diamonds to chip (which actually happened to my diamond).  It’s not worth the risk.  So lose the jewelry, little miss Cinderella wannabe!


Step 7:

By now you’re probably starting to realize you can stop trying to look put-together.  You know those expensive, fitted outfits you spent your spouses’ Father’s Day money on in retaliation for getting pee in your mouth when changing your son’s diaper that your husband was supposed to change but didn’t because he was “watching the most important football game of the year?”  Throw them in that heap on your floor of your bedroom that won’t be tended to for at least two more weeks and slip into something a little more comfy and realistic.

Step 8:

Instead of “big people” clothes, I recommend a soft, CapriSun-stained tattered cotton shirt and a cozy pair of over-sized sweatpants with crusty spit up stains.  Do it quickly because you’re needed immediately in the kitchen to prepare the fourth freaking snack of the morning for your ungrateful snots, I mean perfect angels,  Make sure your brats, I mean precious mini-me’s, dangle from your shirttail with their sticky, grubby paws.  For you vintage enthusiasts out there, this enhances that distressed princess look.


Step 9:

Quickly flop that Crisco-glowing messy mommy-tail (or bun if you prefer) that we started working on days ago somewhere on your head.  By this time your hair is guaranteed to have baby food and other unidentifiable objects strung throughout.

Step 10:

Gingerly attempt to finger comb through the gunk to secure your messy mommy-tail for a highly personalized look.  To perfect it, make sure there are plenty of lumps and randomly placed Bobbi-pins to hold back any loose clumps.


Step 11:

Take your make up off!  Wait till most of your make up is under your eyes  before you remove all of it.This helps to polish the exhausted mom look.  Good job.  You’re almost done.

Step 12:

Feverishly wrestle your expensive glasses from your little Gremlins.  Now the lenses should be nice and blurry.  Who needs to see?  You couldn’t see even if you wanted to from the delirium of the day that never ends.  Put them on anyway so you feel like you’re at least trying to see (and care) what’s going on at this point.  The permanently crooked frames are a perfect match for your ever-digressing ensemble that has now become your staple look.

Step 13:

Hold on to your newly broken glasses because this step is where the Mommy Make-Under crescendos with the addition of the always stylish baby wrap.  A Bjorn or hiking backpack are acceptable forms of touting your screaming, teething baby around the house. makeunder

Step 13½:

Buy the book!  Don’t delay because the first 2 people to pre-order my book will receive a free used rancid smelling, unraveling, crusty baby wrap.

Well, there’s actually not a book.  Maybe I’ll make a DVD series instead.  But seriously, this blog is for entertainment purposes only so don’t anticipate an actual book on this subject…like…ever.

Voila!  There you have it.  Congrats on your new look.  I knew you could pull it off.  With a little TLC you should be able to foster this trendy style for years to come.  Be sure to post your selfies of your best attempt at a Mommy Make-Under to the Mabry Living Facebook page.  The winner will receive a free book.

*If you are you not happy with these results, you can follow my son’s instructions on how to do the proper Mommy Makeover.

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The secret to being both SELFISH and SELFLESS

Do you ever find it difficult to carve out time for just yourself in the busyness of life? Do you struggle with constantly giving to those around you and not taking time to care for yourself? I wrestled with this yesterday but found solutions to these problems in unsuspecting places. Keep reading and I will tell you the secret I found.

As a stay-at-home working mom of three kids, it can be very challenging to do anything for myself. So I am putting forth an effort to start a “Selfish Sarah” movement in our home. I know the word selfish usually has a negative connotation to it but I will attempt to prove it to be a positive word in my life and for those around me.untitled

For so long I have allowed myself to be “Selfless Sarah.” My time would be filled taking care of my kids and husband, keeping up the house and running errands. Let’s just say I have VERY little time to take care of myself. I know all you moms out there can relate. ‘Sarah’ was being lost in the mix of “mom” and “wife” and I didn’t like losing my own identity. Please don’t misunderstand, I LOVE being a mom and wife. I just really love who I am as well. I have personal interests outside of doing laundry, fixing meals, dressing four people, making beds, wiping butts, playing with play dough, trimming 40 fingernails and 40 toenails (it’s not fair because John only needs to trim 5 toe nails!), and cleaning 8 ears.

2015 is going to be the year where I try to find “Sarah” again in the mist of the daily chaos. I am hoping that by being more selfish I can be an even better wife and mom to my family and I hope that they notice a positive difference. During this transition I plan on doing more artwork, working out, finding quiet time, dressing up, pampering myself and most importantly listening to my body’s needs.

With that being said, my hair was WAY overdo for a cut. Surprisingly no birds came and nested in my bun since it looks like a nest made up of nice crispy dry straw. All the Mabry men got hair cuts last week, including the dogs, so it was my turn. I decided to call my hair salon early in the morning while I was feeding Sawyer a bottle (Hey, I can still be selfless while being selfish) and made myself an appointment for later that afternoon. That is when I noticed a nice new piece of custom artwork on our walls done by the one and only Austin. He had decided he would draw on the wall by his bed. The insanity never lets up here! Like I was saying, I needed to get out of the house to take care of me.2015/01/img_4317.jpg

I truly enjoyed myself at the salon. My stylist washed and massaged my head while someone else was fixing me a fresh cup of coffee. Ahhhhhh! Finally, I got away. After sipping on a nice warm cup of coffee and having my hair cut and styled all in one sitting, not having to reheat the same cup of coffee 15 times a day like I usually have to do at home, I started to realize how much I value ‘Selfish Sarah’ time.

I lazily strolled to my car to head home. Just as I sat down to put the key in the ignition I received an alarming text from John with this picture attached:


Seriously?!? I leave the house for 1 hour and this happens…REALLY?!?!!! While I was getting pampered Sawyer managed to fall face first onto our pebbled patio. I was flooded with guilt immediately. Situations like this is when I struggle being selfish. I knew there was nothing I could do at that point so I forced myself to take advantage of the time away from home and ran some errands just to buy more time away from the madness that was unfolding at home.

I picked up some nail polish from Walgreens so I could give myself a mani/ pedi and then headed over to Marshalls and T.J. Maxx to hunt for a laundry basket. Let’s just say I found a lot more than just one basket! Home decor is important to me and since I work out of my home as a mom and wellness advocate I might as well make it how I like it, right?


I came home and transformed into mom and wife again. We got the kids fed at exactly 5:55 (an angel number). I believe when I see sequential numbers on things like clocks that they are a sign that angels are with me. We’ve been seeing them a lot lately in our house, too. God’s angels seem to be closer than they usually are, which might explain why some big things have effortlessly fallen into place for us. Anyway, we finally got the brats kids bathed and tucked in bed. At the very end of a long day I felt deflated. I was finishing up some late night laundry before heading to bed. That’s when I found a shiny penny right at the opening of the dryer (another sign of an angel’s presence ). Just seeing that penny lifted my spirits enough to get me into bed knowing that everything is okay. 2015/01/img_4327.pngIMG_4326

I could just complain about my day but I choose to pick out the good things. I don’t want to over look all the hard work the Mabry Men did tonight. They caulked our bathrooms and I believe John thought it was going to be a lot easier than it turned out to be! Seeing the boys bonding with their dad made my heart smile.


As hard as it is to juggle being a mom, wife, and wellness advocate I honestly don’t think I would want it any other way! The secret I find is in paying attention to the daily signs I receive (the 5:55 on the clock and the shinny penny) and trust that I am where I need to be at this moment in life. Most people overlook these brushes with God’s appointed angels because they are too busy looking at the smartphone. Life is sweet…sometimes overwhelming…but I am going to continue to make an effort to pamper ‘Selfish Sarah’ every once in a while so I can be more ‘Selfless Sarah’ for the important people in my life.

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Smiles are contagious, but so is negativity: A mother’s perspective on the chaos of kids

Yesterday was one of “those” days!

Baby Sawyer woke up with a runny nose and was whiny, the boys didn’t like anything I offered to make them for breakfast, the darn cat (that I am not a fan of) insisted on being let out of the house just to come right back inside and one of the dogs was dry heaving right beside as he followed me around ALL DAY LONG! All the while I was walking around the house like a washed up frumpy old maid wearing reindeer pajamas with a messy pony tail on top of my head balancing Sawyer (aka Soybean) on my hip while she wiped her snot on my sleeve. Most of our mornings these days aren’t too different but this one definitely stood out. It was the last day of Christmas break and I think we were all VERY ready to get back to our normal schedule.

The daSawyer in Bjorny continued to be very demanding and often times frustrating. All I wanted to do was get out of my reindeer pj’s, brush my hair, and brush my teeth. Was I being unrealistic? I didn’t think so. “Soybean” had decided that she didn’t want to nap and she didn’t want to sit on the ground or the high chair or the jumper or the walker, or anywhere else I tried setting her. She was only happy if she was in the baby Bjorn carrier strapped to my chest. Having a baby attached to me made it hard to feel productive and I found myself feeling constantly annoyed and frustrated. That is until I would look down and see the sweetest little blue eyes and big gummy smile staring up at me. That smile sure helped me shift my mindset of negativity and put an immediate smile across my face.

The day continued as earlier with the dry heaving dog leaving piles of spit up randomly placed throughout the house. The dry heaving sound is like nails on a chalkboard for me and I couldn’t get away from it because Cubbie follows me EVERYWHERE! We call it the most annoying sound in the world. Between the heaving and the whiny baby I couldn’t help but watch the clock tick away with each minute getting closer to the kids’ bedtime…and my free time! “The Bachelor” season premier was going to be on and I couldn’t help but dream of being engulfed in the warm couch and watching one of MY shows…not the kids’ cartoons or John’s sports.

John and I got all three kids in their beds by 7:30 pm and I made my way out to the nice cozy green couch and plopped down to watch my show. I had to go to the DVR to find my recording since I was already 30 minutes late. I found it and pushed play. Ahhhhhh. Deep breath.

Not two minutes into the show Austin comes out to tell me that Larson was bleeding. Larson came shuffling in right behind Austin and had a wad of bloody Kleenex shoved in his mouth. In my mind I was thinking “Are you kidding me?!? What could have happened in in two minutes while he was laying in his bed reading books that would make him look like he had just gotten into a fight?”

Through his tears Larson mumbled that his top front tooth was about to fall out. This softened my selfish outlook. John and I got him settled in our bed and I let john take a look at the tooth since it gives me the heeby geebies looking at it dangling from a thread. John said that Larson is not allowed to go to bed without getting that tooth out first. Of course, I was still selfishly thinking. “Oh great, here goes my Bachelor night.”

I tried to sneak out of the bedroom and back to my show. I pushed play and made it all the way to minute 7 before Larson came out and told us he had lost the tooth. I hit pause on the remote and look up to see Larson with the biggest proudest gap-filled smile. His gleaming smile made me smile and my heart shine.Larson's All Smiles

I told him to go get his tooth so we could put it in the special Tooth Fairy pillow we have. A few minutes later I found him frantically searching the chair in our bedroom where he was laying earlier. He said he literally lost the tooth. So he wrote the Tooth Fairy a note at 9:30 pm explaining what happened (see picture below). We set the note by the pillow and he finally drifted off to sleep.

I was able to finish watching my entire show after a long day. Even though it was a redundant day of annoying noises and feelings of being unproductive, I am thankful that my kiddos have the ability to still put a smile on my face, even through the chaos. Once my show was over it was time for me to drift off to sleep with a heart of gratitude.

Luckily, the next day we found the tooth wedged in the filthy carpet near the chair where Larson was laying. After finding it Larson innocently wrote a second note asking the Tooth Fairy for another dollar. Smart kid. It doesn’t hurt to ask, right?

Here are the sweet notes Larson wrote with the Tooth Fairy’s responses on them.




I hope this made you smile today. Remember that smiles are contagious, but so is negativity and a poor attitude. Now go out and smile at everyone you see the rest of the day because you never know what chaos someone else might be going through.

– Sarah Mabry

Mabry multitasking at its greatest

Don’t have time in the evening to workout AND quiz your kids on their spelling words? Try this, where we do both. It’s all about making learning fun. What creative ways do you use to engage your kids in fun learning?